Two weeks after he called on Congress to deliver billions of dollars in federal aid to help New York recover from Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Long Beach and announced that the city and Nassau County would receive more than $40 million to help cover the storm’s cleanup costs.
At a press conference at City Hall last Sunday, Cuomo said that the funding is the first round of federal aid for the hardest-hit areas of the state. Long Beach is set to receive $24.3 million in funding secured through a Federal Emergency Management Agency public assistance grant for citywide debris removal, while nearly $16 million has been earmarked for Nassau County Public Works. The funding would also cover 75 percent of the county’s overtime costs for 270 employees, and the rental of heavy-duty wood chippers to reduce the volume of debris.
“This money will significantly help New Yorkers rebuild communities on Long Island and throughout the impacted areas,” said Cuomo, who was joined by State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jerome Hauer, County Executive Ed Mangano and Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman. “This is a first step. … They have to pay bills, their accounts are depleted and this will help replenish their accounts short-term. But this is a long-term reconstruction.”
Long Beach and the county will use the funding for costs associated with construction and demolition, sand and vegetative debris removal as well as tree removal, reduction, hauling and disposal. Long Beach received the funding, delivered through a joint-effort between the state and FEMA, on Tuesday.
Still, Cuomo said that the federal government needs to “step up and help pay the bill” for long-term reconstruction. Cuomo, Mangano and Schnirman called on Congress to approve $60 billion in federal aid to New York and New Jersey — New York would receive $32 billion — in a supplemental appropriations bill that they want passed before the Christmas congressional break so they can receive the funding quickly.